Most years, the winner of the French Open can be determined in advance if one question is answered in the affirmative …

Is Rafael Nadal playing in French Open 2023?

Well, Nadal is not playing in 2023, so the path is wide open for Novak Djokovic to claim just the third French Open men’s singles title of his illustrious career. He will face Casper Ruud, who reached his second straight Roland Garros final after falling to -- who else? -- Nadal in the 2022 final.

When is the Men’s French Open Final?

The 2023 Men’s French Open Final is set for Sunday, June 11.

What time is the French Open Final?

The 2023 Men’s French Open Final begins at 8:30 a.m. ET, adjusted for the six-hour time difference in Paris. If you happen to be in France, it’s a 2:30 p.m. start.

French Open Men’s Finals History

The French Open first took place 1891 and is played at the Stade Roland Garros in Paris, France. The tournament is notably the only Grand Slam event held on clay courts.

The tournament was known as the “French Championships” until 1968. Winners of the French Open receive a prize of 2.3 million euros ($2.47 million), with the runners-up receiving 1.15 million euros ($1.23 million). The tournament is widely popular, as tennis fans flock from around the globe to view the event.

Of course, one can’t consider the history of the men’s French Open draw without discussing Rafael Nadal, the most dominant player on a single surface (clay) in tennis history.

Who has won the most French Open Men’s titles?

Rafael Nadal has an astounding 14 titles, the most among all players at the French Open. His total is more than double that of Bjorn Borg, who is second on the all-time list with six titles.

Ranking the Top 10 Greatest French Open Men’s Finals of All Time

(Note: Winners listed first)

  1. 2005: Rafael Nadal vs. Mariano Puerta

Match Result: 6-7 (6-8), 6-3, 6-1, 7-5

People were asking themselves “Who is this guy?”

A skinny Spanish teenager named Rafael Nadal had never previously made the Round of 16 in a Grand Slam, yet here he was, smashing his own glass ceiling by winning the French Open men’s final.

Roger Federer was a little ahead of his future rival in terms of his tennis development, since a victory at Roland Garros that year would have given Federer a career Grand Slam. However, Nadal conquered him in the semifinals in four sets.

Unseeded Mariano Puerta would fall in the finals to the man who would undeniably become the most outstanding player in French Open history.

  1. 1983: Yannick Noah vs. Mats Wilander

Match Result: 6-2, 7-5, 7-6 (7-3)

A few interesting fun facts about this one:

  1. Yannick Noah, the 1983 champion, is the only Frenchman in the Open era (1968 to present) to win the French Open.
  2. This was the last ever Grand Slam won by someone using a wooden.
  3. Yannick Noah’s son is former NBA All-Star Joakim Noah
  1. 2012: Rafael Nadal vs. Novak Djokovic

Match Result: 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5

What more could Novak Djokovic do in his prime? At the time of this tournament, he had won four of the five previous Grand Slams, falling only to Roger Federer in the 2011 French Open semifinals.

Having made his first Roland Garros French Open final in 2012, Djokovic would face defending back-to-back champion Rafael Nadal. A Djokovic victory would make him the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to be the reigning champion of all four Grand Slams at the same time.

While Djokovic took a set from Nadal for the first time in his career at the French Open, he was no match for the Spaniard. Nadal + clay = game over.

  1. 1974: Bjorn Bjorg vs. Manuel Orantes

Match Result: 2-6, 6-7 (4-7), 6-0, 6-1. 6-1

Not to be confused with a baby Bjorn, former Swedish world No. 1 Bjorn Bjorg captured his first Grand Slam championship at Roland Garros in dramatic fashion.

Down two sets, he would drop just two games during the ensuing three sets -- the first of his six total titles at Roland Garros. Only Rafael Nadal won the French Open more times than Borg.

There was some element of controversy regarding the 1974 French Open. Jimmy Connors, who won the three other Grand Slams that season, was banned from playing because of his short-lived fling with World Team Tennis (WTT).

  1. 2006: Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer

Match Result: 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4)

While the final itself was a more subdued affair, its place in history puts a bigger spotlight on the 2006 edition of Roland Garros. World No. 2 Rafael Nadal tidily put away world No. 1 Roger Federer in four sets in the first of what would turn out to be nine Grand Slam finals meetings (Nadal has a record of 6-3).

This was Nadal’s second of 14 total French Open victories -- the most all-time by a margin of six (France’s Max Decugis won eight French championships from 1903 to 1914). Nadal also defeated future world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals of the 2006 French Open. That was the Serbian star’s first-ever quarterfinals appearance at a major tournament.

With such historic significance, this tournament and its finals deserves their laurels in retrospect.

  1. 2021: Novak Djokovic vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas

Match Result: 6-7 (6-8), 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4

During a tournament with so much history on the line, Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas, ranked No. 5 in the world, was one set away from gatecrashing the party. In doing so, he created his own slice of history: Tsitsipas is the first (and only) Greek player to reach a major final.

He would face world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, after the Serb had previously survived a four-hour semifinal against rival Rafael Nadal (only Nadal’s third-ever loss at Roland Garros) and a Round-of-16 matchup against Italian teenager Lorenzo Musetti, against whom he was also down two sets.

In coming back to win the 2021 final, Djokovic became the first man to complete a double career Grand Slam and kept the never-ending battle of who would finish with the most Grand Slams going between himself, Nadal, and Roger Federer. The 2021 French Open championship was his 19th, but legal/vaccine issues would cloud the rest of his season. 

  1. 1984: Ivan Lendl vs. John McEnroe

Match Result: 3-6, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5, 7-5

In winning the first of his eight major titles, Czechoslovakia’s Ivan Lendl, who was ranked No.2 in the world, came back from two sets down to trounce No. 1-ranked American John McEnroe.

Lendl would win Roland Garros two more times in his career (1986, 1987), but this was the only time he had to come back from two sets down. He was only the second man in French Open finals history to do so and one of just five men overall.

  1. 2004: Gaston Gaudio vs. Guillermo Coria

Match Result: 0-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 8-6

An all-Argentinian affair, the 2004 French Open final was the only final in the Open era at Roland Garros to have a fifth set push past 6-6, with Gaudio breaking Coria to end it.

Gaudio is also the only Open-era winner to save a Championship point in a final in French Open history, fighting off two from Coria.

While the pageantry and star power might not have been in 2004’s favor, the match itself was the best French Open final.

  1. 1999: Andre Agassi vs. Andrei Medvedev

Match Result: 1-6, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4

Although the men’s final was arguably overshadowed by the 1999 Women’s French Open final, American Andre Agassi was in tears nonetheless after overcoming Ukrainian Andrei Medvedev in five sets.

By winning the tournament, Agassi became the second man (at that time) to complete the career Grand Slam, and he even knocked off 1998 champion Carlos Moya on the way to the Roland Garros finals.

  1. 1989 French Open Final: Michael Chang vs. Stefan Edberg

Match Result: 6-1, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2

Michael Chang, ranked No. 15 in the world, was just 17 years old when he captured the 1989 title, making him the youngest French Open winner ever.

Not only did he defeat world No. 3 Stefan Edberg in an epic five-set final, but Chang also battled from two sets back against world No. 1 and three-time French Open champion Ivan Lendl in the Round of 16.

Chang would never win another Grand Slam event.

Parameters of Rankings

These rankings were based on the level of notoriety of the finalists, the quality of each match, the length of each match, and the historical significance of each match.

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